Year Built
Official Number
Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation
General Type
Specific Type
MIL – Other
Ship Length
310 feet
74 feet
Mast Height
Net Tons
Gross Tons
Cargo Capacity
Draft, Summer
Draft, Lightweight
Displacement, Summer
Displacement, Lightweight
5050 tons
Immersion, Summer
Immersion, Lightweight
Sold - Scrap

Historical Narrative

In 1953 the U.S. Navy designed and ordered the USS Glacier, which was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  Icebreaking was Glacier’s primary mission, but it was sometimes needed to tow vessels through the ice. 

The ship began service in 1955 and is the last remaining vessel from the U.S. Navy’s icebreaking fleet.  It served the Navy for 11 years before the Coast Guard acquired the ship on June 30, 1966 and renamed it USCGC Glacier

The Glacier served the Coast Guard for 32 years. The ship is notable as a polar icebreaker and for penetrating the Antarctic during 29 deployments and 10 in the Arctic. Glacier proved critical in establishing permanent American bases in the Antarctic.  At the time Glacier began service, it was the most powerful icebreaker in existence and it made some of the earliest and longest penetration into Antarctica’s ice field.

The Glacier also demonstrated its value in mapping Antarctica (both aerial and underwater) using helicopters and sophisticated equipment.  The ship’s design allowed it to break ice up to 20 feet in thickness and travel non-stop for extended periods. 

The Coast Guard decommissioned the Glacier in 1987.  The ship entered the Maritime Administration’s Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, California on October 3, 1991 as a reimbursable custody vessel; the Maritime Administration took title in December, 1998.  It was sold for dismantlement on April 17, 2012.

The Maritime Administration completed a National Register eligibility assessment of Glacier, which includes a detailed history.  The National Park Service has also done a HAER survey of the vessel.  Both reports can be viewed in the "Documents" section.

Vessel Name History



No Mission for this vessel

Historical Documents
Name Expand Download


Event: Entry
Date: 10/3/1991

Reimbursable with USCG
Event: Acquisition
Date: 12/1/1998

MARAD takes title of Glacier
Date: 9/7/2007

Donation Hold expired August 2007.
Event: Disposal
Date: 8/1/2011

Completed historic review.
Event: Ship name change
Date: 3/8/2012

Event: Withdrawal
Date: 4/17/2012

Vessel departed under domestic sale contract with ESCO Marine, Inc. in Brownsville, TX.

Ship Imagery


Status Cards



Date Type Name Expand Download
1/14/2011 Glacier_NHPA_History.pdf Default Generic Expand Image Default Generic Download Image
8/1/2011 Glacier_Memorandum_of_Agreement.pdf Default Generic Expand Image Default Generic Download Image
11/21/2013 Glacier_HAER_Survey.pdf Default Generic Expand Image Default Generic Download Image


No documents for this vessel

Shipwreck Information

No ship wreck information for this vessel